Pathology Residency Programs: Clinical and Anatomic Pathology
Guest: Dr. Janice Lage – Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, MUSC
Host: Dr. Linda Austin – Psychiatry, MUSC
Dr. Linda Austin: Dr. Janice Lage is Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology here at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Lage, in this podcast, let’s talk about the residency program and training opportunities in the department. If you were to speak to, let’s say, a senior medical student who might be looking at the department, explaining to them what’s interesting or special, or unique, about the department, what would you say about that?
Dr. Janice Lage: Well, MUSC is a wonderful place to train for pathology residency. We have an outstanding faculty. And we have a department that’s basically family-run, or family-friendly.
Dr. Linda Austin: Meaning, what?
Dr. Janice Lage: Meaning that we focus on the individual needs of the residents and their families, and how they interact with other residents in the department; with the physicians that they come in contact with, and with the patients that they come in contact with.
Dr. Linda Austin: When you say family-friendly, what comes to my mind are the needs of women, for example, who might be getting pregnant. And I suppose that’s near and dear to my heart. I was pregnant during my psychiatry residency and found that to be a pretty challenging time. Is that a situation that comes up?
Dr. Janice Lage: Absolutely. It’s very common for residents to have families; children, during their residency, and we make accommodations for that. And, with other women on faculty who’ve had children, especially the more senior women who’ve had a dual career where they’ve been parents; and have had children, and worked full-time, they have a different perspective that they can bring to this issue.
Dr. Linda Austin: Now, getting into the academic part of the program, you offer training in Clinical Pathology and Anatomic Pathology, obviously.
Dr. Janice Lage: That’s correct.
Dr. Linda Austin: What are some of the strengths that you’re most proud of?
Dr. Janice Lage: What I’m most excited about; in our residency training program, we have both anatomic and clinical pathology training, we’ve hired a new director for the clinical laboratories. His name is Dr. Rick Nolte; and he’s been here the last couple of years, and he’s a superb microbiologist. His expertise is in molecular diagnostics. Recently, Dr. Nolte brought online a new test looking at the various specific subtypes of respiratory infections that people can get, especially at this time of year, such as the HINI seasonal virus, or the H1NI swine flu virus, as well a number of other respiratory diseases that can mimic flu symptoms. Dr. Nolte recently brought a new molecular test online which will allow clinicians to distinguish between these different types of infections. He involves the residents in all that he does, especially in bringing new tests online.
Dr. Linda Austin: Very exciting.
Dr. Janice Lage: Yeah, we’re really excited about that, especially because the previous tests that we had for these respiratory viruses were not that accurate. But, the new PCR-based; polymerase chain reaction-based, test that we now use for these diagnostic entities is much more reliable, both in terms of sensitivity and specificity.
On the Anatomic Pathology side, we have outstanding diagnosticians, which cover the whole waterfront, all areas, of pathology; basically, from head to toe. And we particularly focus on residency training, so we make sure that the residents are involved in every step in the process, from the initial examination of the specimen; tissue removed from a patient, or blood and bodily fluids, all the way through the final rendering of diagnosis, after viewing the tissues under a microscope.
The residents are involved in presenting at conferences and interacting with clinicians, basically, on a daily basis. We also have didactic training sessions in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology that run throughout the year, basically, on a two-year calendar basis, with repeating didactics every couple of years. That allows residents to test their own knowledge in a given area and see how they compare to the other residents at their same level of training.
Dr. Linda Austin: Dr. Lage, what is your own personal area of interest in pathology?
Dr. Janice Lage: My area of expertise is in obstetrics and gynecologic pathology, as well as breast pathology. In particular, I focus on placental and perinatal pathology. That means the pathology of the placenta; the afterbirth of a baby, and the pathology of the newborn infant within the first year of life.
Dr. Linda Austin: Very interesting area. Now, this is early December 2009, as we’re recording this, so we’re getting right into the thick of residency recruitment season. How many residents do you have spots for?
Dr. Janice Lage: We have spots, this year, for six residents. We will be interviewing between 60 and 70 residents. I think, at last count, 350 applications have been received.
Dr. Linda Austin: In last year’s class, where did those residents come from?
Dr. Janice Lage: They come from all over the United States. We have some residents that stay from MUSC. We have residents from all over. I think the furthest that we’ve had residents come is Ohio. And we had residents come from Nebraska as well. Typically, most southeastern United States medical graduates stay in the Southeast. So, typically, our residents come from within the neighboring four or five states.
Dr. Linda Austin: Well, it’s a very exciting program, and you have so much to be proud of. Thanks for talking with us today.
Dr. Janice Lage: Yes. You’re welcome. Thank you, Linda.